Saturnians

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The Various Minor Denizens of Saturn, also called Cykranoshians.

Origin: The fiction of Clark Ashton Smith and others, especially "The Door to Saturn (fiction)".

Clark Ashton Smith's Cykranosh

The land of the Ydheems (as indicated on an earlier occasion by the Bhlemphroims) was many leagues away; and tracts of ashen deserts, of mineral cacti, of fungoid forests, and high mountains intervened. The boundary of the Bhlemphroims — marked by a crude sculpturesque representation of the tribal mother beside the way — was passed by the travelers before dawn.

And during the following day they journeyed among more than one of those unusual races who diversify so widely the population of Saturn. They saw the Djhibbis, that apterous and Stylitean bird-people who roost on their individual dolomites for years at a time and meditate upon the cosmos, uttering to each other at long intervals the mystic syllables yop, yeep, and yoop, which are said to express an unfathomed range of esoteric thought.

And they met those flibbertigibbet pygmies, the Ephiqhs, who hollow out their homes in the trunks of certain large fungi, and are always having to hunt new habitations because the old ones crumble into powder in a few days. And they heard the underground croaking of that mysterious people, the Ghlonghs, who dread not only the sunlight but also the ring-light, and who have never yet been seen by any of the surface-dwellers.
Clark Ashton Smith, "The Door to Saturn (fiction)"

Clark Ashton Smith's Cykranosh (Saturn) is home to a bewildering variety of small "nations" peopled by strange minor races of distinctly different appearance, habitats, and behaviors, which may or may not all share a common ancestor. Among the beings described by Clark Ashton Smith in his fiction are...

Bhlemphroim

The decadent race of Bhlemphroims have evolved into a roughly humanoid but headless form, their heads merged into their torsos, from which the jumbled features of their faces cryptically stare. This is a practical and unimaginative people with little use for religion, philosophy, magic, or science, and their society has turned inwards on itself to focus entirely on supporting a very peculiar and specific reproductive cycle in which only a "National Mother" is permitted to bear children, and fed to mountainous proportions for this purpose, spending her time on no other pursuits but eating and reproducing. Her husbands are selected from the cleverest specimens of the race, or those whose heads are most distinct from their bodies, as part of a fruitless national eugenic program to produce more ideal children; the husbands are consumed by the National Mother shortly after the marriage is consummated, a fate considered by this people to be a great honor and privilege. This race seem to have descended from a more competent people in the distant past which once served Tsathoggua, but have since fallen on less ambitious and competent times and have abandoned the gods.

Ydheem

A similar race to the Bhlemphroims, the Ydheems are distinguished by being somewhat truer to their ancestral stock, having heads distinct from their torsos, and a tendency toward more philosophical temperament than their headless cousins.

Djhibbi

Djhibbis are a wingless, philosophical bird-like people who perch on towering dolomite pillars for years at a time and meditate upon the cosmos, uttering to each other at long intervals the mystic syllables yop, yeep, and yoop, which are said to express an unfathomed range of esoteric thought.

Ephiqh

The Ephiqhs are a nomadic, chattering pygmy race who hollow out their homes in the trunks of certain large, short-lived fungi, and are always having to hunt new habitations because the old ones crumble into powder in a few days.

Ghlongh

A mysterious and rarely-seen troglodytic people, the Ghlonghs, are known to surface-dwellers mostly by their muffled, subterranean croaking, for this race dread not only the sunlight but also Saturn's ring-light, from which they have withdrawn from the surface of Cykranosh into labyrinthine tunnels to escape the light.

Race of Tsathoggua

Relatives of Tsathoggua, migrating from a far more distant world, have made their home on Cykranosh, where they are largely worshiped like gods. Jet-black, boneless, formless, and furry by default, the race of Tsathoggua are known to take on roughly humanoid forms, such as a long-armed, short-legged specimen with a boneless neck and lumpen, dangling head spotted by the wizard Eibon shortly after arriving on Cykranosh. See Formless Spawn of Tsathoggua for more details.

Saturnian Cattle

Large, towering, stupid, bulbous, fungous beasts serve many of the Saturnine races as food, beasts of burden, and transportation. The meat is coarse and flabby, edible to humans but unpleasant in texture and flavor. The beasts are often first detected from a great distance by their stamping feet at strange, mournful cries.

Flora of Cykranosh

The Saturnine flora of Cykranosh is bewildering in its variety, taking forms roughly comparable to earthly fungi and cacti.

The cacti are generally bluish in colour with sharp and angular forms and claws rather than spines, and some of the larger, older, and more dangerous cacti hold some rudimentary and malevolent intelligence, attacking and consuming travelers who pass too closely.

The pale, soft flesh of the fungi, in forms similar to earthly mushrooms,toad stools, and puffballs ranging from nearly microscopic to virtually mountainous size, are generally edible to the denizens of Saturn and to humans alike, but can sometimes pose a danger in the wild where the larger fungi sometimes break loose from the rocks and soil to cause fungal landslides and avalanches, or get blown about across the surface of Cykranosh like tumbleweeds, drying up and trailing spoors behind them to reproduce. As food, the fungi can be eaten raw, or served as soups, steaks, or roasts.


Heresies and Controversies

  • "Cykranosh" might refer to the moons of Saturn as well as Saturn itself, with many of the beings encountered by Eibon in his travels to Cykranosh, described above, perhaps actually being found on Titan, a world of strange ashen deserts and streams and lakes of gleaming and almost metallic hydrocarbon liquids, with Saturn's rings typically visible in the gloomy greenish sky above from much of the moon's surface. (fan theory)

Keeper Notes

Associated Mythos Elements

References